I was curious about Heartbreak Ridge when the movie was released, but I never went to see it. A while back, a friend gave me a bunch of Clint Eastwood movies, so I am finally getting a chance to catch up. This one looked promising to me because as a rule I like military stories, and I do like Eastwood, though not all of his movies are to my liking, considering the amount of violence contained within them.
The opening of Heartbreak Ridge used footage of soldiers after battle. I do not know if that was actual war footage or scenes shot to look that way, but the airing of this opening in black and white was quite effective. When we get to the first color scenes, though, it loses some of that initial punch. It takes some time to get to the meat of the film.
Early on it did get my attention for a scene that took place at a diner. I have been to that place myself. It is frequently used in movies and TV shows, so it gave the movie a bit of emotional appeal since I have happy memories of that locale.
Considering that the plot involves the Marine Corps, it is not surprising that the language is rather salty; however, the action could easily have been more hard core, so I am glad that it was not any worse.
There is the proverbial romance as a subplot. Marsha Mason stars as Eastwood’s ex-wife. That storyline never really engaged me the same way that the main story did, that of dealing with Eastwood as the platoon leader in charge of some interesting characters.
The drills and training that goes on are the heart of this picture for me. It really is not a new story; we have seen this same basic framework before. In fact, I found myself thinking of Gomer Pyle and his Sergeant Carter a few times. Granted, there is no real sameness, but it was just that feeling of the curmudgeon shaping up the boys.
The acting is pretty good. Eastwood tends to surround himself with excellent performers, and that is the case here as well. The story holds it own, too, and works for a couple of hours of war entertainment, especially when Eastwood gets the best of arrogant soldiers with attitudes.